Gay influencer victim of violent attack in Cork City

Taking to Instagram to share what happened during the attack, the man said: "It's not safe to be gay, clearly".

Gay influencer David Babington, who was victim of an attack in Cork City, posing in front of a landscape.
Image: Via Instagram - @material_boy

Content Warning: Contains descriptions of violence and homophobia.

On Monday, February 20, gay social media influencer David Babington, known as Material Boy online, was the victim of an alleged attack in Cork City. The man took to social media to share the experience with his followers.

Through several Instagram stories, Babington recounted the horrific event to his followers, revealing that the alleged attack occurred while he was on his way to the Imperial Hotel in Cork City after leaving his friends. He said that while he was passing a pub, a man in his 40s started shouting homophobic slurs at him before assaulting him.

As reported by the Irish Examiner, An Garda Siochána stated that two men were arrested on the night of the attack, though there was no record of an assault being reported at the location. According to David Babington, the two men were detained overnight because they were under the influence.

Babington shared a video on Instagram, with a clearly visible dark-coloured swollen eye, saying: “To be a 43-year-old man and have to face this… to be gay-bashed at 43 in Cork City… is something I had never anticipated would have happened to me again”.

Babington then disputed claims of a “different Ireland”, stating that “This is the Ireland that we’re in” and pointing at his bruised face as proof. “I feel completely numb,” he added, explaining how he had been contacted by “almost every radio station in Ireland” but had refused to speak to the media about the assault due to feeling “too raw and vulnerable” to speak.

Ending the video in which he explained what happened to him during the attack in Cork City, he said: “It’s not safe to be gay, clearly”.

This latest incident comes as Europe’s leading LGBTQ+ organisation ILGA-Europe published a report detailing how 2022 was the most violent year in over a decade for LGBTQ+ people living in the region. According to the latest statistics published by An Garda Siochána, of 448 hate crimes and hate-related incidents that were recorded in 2021, 15% were motivated by bias towards the victim’s sexual orientation.

As one of the contributors to the report, Policy and Research Manager with LGBT Ireland, Pádraig Rice, referred to 2022 as the “year of hate” in Ireland. “Every month for the last 12, there has been coverage in GCN, a monthly LGBTQ community magazine, of a serious attack on an LGBTQ+ person,” Rice said.

“The truth is homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are an everyday reality for many LGBTQ+ people in Ireland,” Rice continued. “It spans from the slurs that go unchallenged in the schoolyard and the workplace to LGBTQ+ people being attacked on the streets and murdered in their homes.”

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